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Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Billed as a "tantalizing follow-up" to Aron's book on oddities and conundrums of American history, this more widely focused work weighs conflicting views on the issues involved in answering such chapter-entitling queries as "Who Was King Arthur?" or "Did Jesus Die on the Cross?" or "Was Gorbachev Part of the August Coup?" In most cases, the answer Aron arrives at is a suitable "nobody knows for sure," but the brief summaries of the issues and the brisk examinations of competing claims and theories about them afford readers more information and insight about some delicious historical riddles. In "Did Martin Guerre Return?" Aron reviews sixteenth-century records to assess a cornucopia of deception, adultery, and mistaken identity. In "Did Hitler Murder His Niece?" the oft-alluded-to kink in Hitler's libido is given a name, unidinism (it involves urine--enough said?). Wonderful for light, occasional reading, Aron's latest offering proves again that history can be fun and as strange, at least, as fiction. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

"Historians make great detectives," says Paul Aron, "and history makes for great detective stories." In Unsolved Mysteries of History, Aron’s second ingenious primer on the art of historical detection, he proves that history has all the twists and turns, intellectual challenges, and surprise revelations of a great mystery story. From the origins of mankind—literally—to the present, here are the twenty-five most intriguing mysteries of all time.
  • Were the Neandertals our ancestors? Or did modern Homo sapiens wipe them out?
  • Why did the pharaohs build the pyramids? And if they were, in fact, tombs, why is it that nobody found any bodies?
  • If Gutenberg invented the printing press, why did Johannes Fust sue him . .. and win? And why was it Fust’s name that appeared on the first printed books?
  • Did Columbus discover America by accident? Or was he looking for a New World all along?
  • How could Shakespeare, the uneducated son of a small-town glove-maker, have written with such familiarity about law, the classics, and court life? And if he didn’t write the plays, who did?
  • Could the Titanic have been saved? Why did the Californian, just miles from the sinking ocean liner, not go to its rescue?
  • Did Hitler murder his niece? And was he her lover?

For each mystery, Aron re-creates the decisive events surrounding them and presents the latest discoveries and debates. Open Unsolved Mysteries of History and join the fray.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4618 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 18, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 18, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001Q9F3BU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Paul Aron is Director of Publications at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Previously he was a reporter for The Virginia Gazette, executive editor at Simon and Schuster, and editor at Doubleday.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Barbara One on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
If only the author had came clean and offered his book up as "possible" solutions or alternatives or opinions instead of trying to convince his readers that his "findings" were the results of forensic research data analysis or anthropological findings/discoveries untold for centuries. He plays on the minds of the gullible. For example, Jesus faked His death? Good one! Dogs ate His body? And did not leave any trace of their deed? I guess dogs were different back then. It was sad to read other reviews of readers who said they enjoyed the indepth analysis and pro and con discussion the author provided. Personally, I can get the same type of reading in line at the grocery store reading the front page of the tabloids! This book had as much credibility as those rags do too. Beware!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Miriya Tsukino on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The book as a whole-seen it done before, nothing to write home about.
My real issue with this book was how he "solved" the "mystery" of Richard III and the Princes. *Especially* since he singled out Richard in the introduction of the book. Like about 90% of all authors who discuss Richard and either don't bother to do research or don't give about whether they're accurate or not, he uses the bones found in the Tower as proof positive that Richard had the boys murdered. If the author had bothered to do *real* research or even cared to look into the subject some more, he would have noticed the last forensic tests conducted on the bones were in the *1930s*, when the science of forensics was *nowhere* near what it is today. Those tests couldn't say with any certainty what *age* the bones are, what *year* they came from or even what *sex* the bones are. Those bones are also not the first ones found at the Tower. (it was in use for centuries before Richard's time)
So, tell me again how those bones indicate Richard's guilt, for when all we know, they could be female.
He backs up the bones, if I remember correctly, with the dubious authority of Sir Thomas More's "History of Richard the III", which is riddled with obvious errors. (like saying Edward VI was 53 when he died, when he was just days short of his 41st birthday) These errors have pretty much destroyed the work's reputation among serious historians, some who now believe the work was a huge parody or a disguised attack on Henry VII. This lack of care pretty much killed the book for me-I threw it down in disgust after that chapter. It also makes me wonder just how much research he did into the other "mysteries" he covered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John J. Wright on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
To be fair this book was never meant to be a in depth study on histories unsolved mysteries. It basically takes 25 stories and gives them a few pages each of basic information. Somewhat like a long wickepedia insert. There are a few cool stories such as who wrote Shakespeare's plays. But even that has been done in many other books. This book is for the person who does not read much into the weird or alternate histories. If you just want a fun easy to read book about some of the stranger moments in history then its a good buy.
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Format: Paperback
Paul Aron writes twenty-five short stories about unsolved mysteries. His writing leaves most of them unsolved, but number seventeen, "Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays" is the exception. Mr. Aron goes through various theories scholars have proposed, and then all but asserts William Shakespeare wrote them.

Aron might have made number 6 more interesting than any other, "Did Jesus Die on the Cross?" He doesn't do it, however. During most of the essay, Aron recounts theories proposed by liberal scholars, and none agree with the Bible about the title question; he briefly mentions that some believe the Bible about it, but perhaps leaves it those in the latter camp, like me, to emphasize the idea. Thus, many of us say yes, He did die on the cross, others say no, and Mr. Aron doesn't declare himself, as he doesn't in twenty-three of the others.

I can mention one more, number twenty-one, "Could the Titanic have been saved?" The author writes of another ship, not far from the Titanic, possibly able to take the passengers off, but because both the captain and the radio operator went to bed, the other ship did nothing. Aron describes the debate, and concludes the other captain should have tried, but admits he might not have succeeded. Aron writes a five-star book. David Carlyle, "Another Land."
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George Poirier on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent and most enjoyable book. In 25 chapters, the author guides us through thousands of years of human activity, focusing on various unsolved historical mysteries. The fact that these mysteries are unsolved should not lead the reader to assume that this book offers solutions - it doesn't. However, in each of the 25 cases presented, the author brilliantly provides background information, describes the contentious issue, presents all (or most) sides in the debate and, where possible, indicates what the general consensus is today - all breathlessly condensed in less than 10 pages. In some cases, I was not even aware that there were any unsolved issues. The writing is clear and very engaging. At the end of each chapter, references are provided along with the author's comments on each one. What more can one ask for? This is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone, especially those interested in mysteries and detective stories - except that these ones are real. I now intend to seek out other similar books by this author with the expectation that they will be as fascinating as this one.
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